April 25, 2015

Congratulations to Continental Tires of the Americas, Community Reinvestment Fund and People Incorporated on being selected as a semi-finalist in the Job Creation Category for the NDC Academy Awards 2015. The NDC Academy Awards Semi-Finalists represent some of the most innovative and impactful developments changing the lives for residents in underserved communities across the country, NDC is honored to highlight the achievements of these organizations at the NDC Academy 2015.

Continental Tire Sumter – Sumter, SC

In October of 2011, Continental executives along with the Governor of South Carolina announced a new passenger/light truck tire manufacturing facility in Sumter, SC. The announcement ended an six month site selection process where the Continental team evaluated 12 states and 2 countries.  Critical to selecting the best location for the new facility was finding a location that could accommodate the plant dimensions in addition to providing the needed water, sewer, road, rail, and port infrastructure.  The ideal location also had to be  a place where Continental could find, recruit and train a quality workforce in a state and community that would support Continental and manufacturing for the life of the facility. Site preparation for the plant began almost immediately and by June of 2012, a construction team had been selected and footings were being completed.  The Continental team has constructed the 1 million square foot plant, coordinated and installed customized tire building equipment, and hired/trained the start up team.  The hard work paid off because in October 2013 the Sumter plant got corporate approval to begin production, three months ahead of schedule. In January 2014, Governor Haley and company executives returned to Sumter to celebrate the official grand opening of the facility. Today the facility is continuing to improve in all areas. There are approximately 625 employees of the 1,600 that will be employed by 2021. Training and recruiting are ongoing. The tires made in the Sumter facility are being shipped to customers across the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Sumter County, SC is a community of just over 108,000 with more than half of the citizens being minorities and more than 17% living at the poverty level.  The announcement of Continental was met with huge excitement. Sumter citizens lined Main Street to welcome company executives in October of 2011 after the announcement. Almost immediately, Sumter felt the impact of Continental.  Local businesses including hotels and restaurants have seen a surge in business.   A Starbucks has opened. Hardware stores and other retailers have benefited as ex-pats arrived in the community. Continental’s investment is the largest single private investment in Sumter County by a factor of ten. Continental will spend more than a half billion dollars creating and populating its million-square-foot facility, which doubled the community’s manufacturing footprint. In January 2014, Continental announced that over $100,000,000 had already been spent with local companies just during the construction. By 2020, Continental will be the community’s largest private employer and will pay nearly $3,000,000 annually in local taxes.  According to a statement released by NDC, “The jobs are expected to pay wages 25 percent higher than the median income earned in Sumter and spur more than $670 million in related economic activity in the area.” In 2011, the county unemployment rate was 11% as of December 2014. It is down to 6.8% and per capita income has increased 11.3% since 2011, from $29,915 to $33,310 in 2013. Continental has also donated more than $50,000 to local charities including a $25,000 donation to the Sumter County School District, a long-term commitment to Poinsett State Park to restore bicycle trails, and sponsored volunteer days at local organizations including Habitat for Humanity and the YWCA.

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